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Last Exile

Last Exile: The Complete Series
2009 TV Series (episodes 1-26). Director: Koichi Chigira. 625 minutes. DVD, bilingual, $49.98. Distributor: Funimation.

In a futuristic sky that paradoxically looks back to the scientific imagination of the 19th and early 20th centuries, vanships are on the cutting edge, pushing the envelope in both war and peace. On the planet Prester Claus Valca and his navigator Lavie are intent on crossing the legendary and seemingly impassable air space known as the Grand Stream. Dreams, however, are delayed as the young vanship pilot is pulled into the ongoing war between Anatoray and Disith. His skills will not only be tested, but his life will forever change.

Once again, Studio Gonzo puts forth a unique, anime gem. Epic is indeed the right adjective for Last Exile. Fundamentally it is the coming-of-age story of Claus, Lavie, and the friends they meet along the way. But these floating ships deprived of water, their Howard Hughes-esque vanships, their petticoat clad gunners, and their royal commanders drape this tale in the aristocratic trappings of a time long past. Dreams and history merge to create an epic song of war and humanity.

Getting lost in the world of Last Exile is disturbingly easy. The art alone is a stunning vision that pushes the visual aesthetic of anime to a new level of delight. It is not to be missed!